Annual General Meeting: 28th February, 1910.
Professor C. W. Egerton, President, in the chair.
Report of the Council.
In accordance with the rules, the Council have now to submit to the members their forty-second annual report on the financial and general condition of the Institute, and its progress during the past year.
Members.—The number of members on the roll at the present time is 186, of whom eleven are life members and 175 annual subscribers. Fourteen new members have been elected during the year; but, on the other hand, ten names have been removed from the roll—three from death, five from resignation, and two from non-payment of subscription for more than two consecutive years. Those removed by death are Mr. D. M. Beere, Mr. R. A. Carr, and Mr. J. M. McLachlan, all of whom have been in association with the Institute for many years.
Finance—The balance-sheets appended to the report give full particulars respecting the financial position of the Society. The total revenue of the Working Account, after deducting the balance in hand at the commencement of the year, has been £1,195 0s. 9d. This is nearly £100 in excess of the income for the previous year, which was £1,095 7s. 1d. Examining the separate items, it will be seen that the receipts from the Costley Bequest have been £386 15s., as against £370 11s. 3d. for –9. The Museum Endowment has contributed in rents and interest the sum of £502 8s., last year's amount being £426 15s. 6d. £103 8s. 8d. has been transferred from the Mackelvie Library Bequest for the purchase of books, and £173 5s. has been derived from the members' subscriptions. The total expenditure has been £1,209 11s. 8d., leaving a credit balance of £256 19s. 11d. in the Bank of New Zealand. The mode of investment of the capital funds of the Institute, which now amount to £16,368 14s. 3d., has received considerable attention during the year. Certain portions invested in Government or municipal debentures have been called in and reinvested in mortgages on specially selected freehold securities, with the result of considerably increasing the income of the Society.
Meetings.—Nine meetings have been held during the year, at which the following papers were read and discussed:—
Presidential address: “George Meredith,” by Professor C. W. Egerton, M.A.
“The Paston Letters: English Life in the Fifteenth Century,” by Professor H. S. Dettmann.
“Epochs of English Geological History,” by F. Heaton, B.Sc.
“Comets,” by Professor H. W. Segar, M.A.
“Colour,” by Professor F. D. Brown, M.A.
“The Romance of Portuguese Expansion,” by the Rev. Gray Dixon, M.A.
“The Schoolmaster in Fiction,” by H. A. Milnes, B.Sc
“The Heart of the Southern Alps,” by Dr. J. M. Bell, M.A.
Also sixteen papers on various scientific subjects (see Proceedings of Ninth Meeting, 22nd November, 1909, p. 119).
As stated in last year's report, the recent alterations in the library have made it impracticable to hold the larger meetings of the Institute therein. During the past session the Maori house was used for the purpose; but it proved to be in many respects unsuitable, to say nothing of the risk of injury which its employment for such a purpose involved. As the Institute is not in a position to erect a lecture-room of its own, it appears probable that temporary arrangements will have to be made for the use of a hall outside the Museum buildings.
Volume XLI of the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute” has been printed during the year and distributed among the members. The Proceedings were issued in parts in advance of the Transactions, no doubt with the very desirable object of supplying information to members respecting the current work of the various branches of the Institute. Objections were raised, however, to the exclusion of the Proceedings from the annual volume, and at the suggestion of this Society an arrangement has been made under which a sufficient stock will be printed to allow of their incorporation with the Transactions, as well as their separate issue.
Museum.—The attendance of visitors to the Museum continues to be satisfactory. The register kept by the attendant on Sundays shows that a total number of 19,399 entered the building on that day, being an average of 373 for each Sunday. The greatest attendance was 847, on the 26th December, the smallest fifty-three, on the 1st August. On the six chief holidays of the year the attendance was 2,833, or an average of 472. The number of visitors on ordinary week-days can be safely estimated at 175 per day, which would make a total of 53,725. Adding to this number the Sunday and holiday attendance, we have 75,957 as the total number of visitors for the whole year. This is only very slightly under the figures for last year (78,051), which were considerably swollen through the special attractions offered by the visit of the American fleet.
Many changes of importance have been made in the Museum during the year, and the consequent advance must be looked upon as most satisfactory. In last year's report the Council mentioned the engagement of Mr. Griffin as assistant and preparator of specimens, and his services have led to a considerable improvement in the zoological department. The whole of the exhibited series of birds and mammals, both New Zealand and foreign, has been thoroughly cleaned and renovated, and remounted in a more modern style. With respect to the New Zealand portion, many inferior and faded specimens have been replaced by better and more artistically mounted examples, and a start has been made towards the preparation of special groups illustrating the life-history of certain species. A commencement has also been made in the formation of a collection of New Zealand food fishes. This it is intended to press on as rapidly as possible during the present autumn. Arrangements are also in progress for the remounting of a portion of the alcoholic specimens in rectangular glass jars recently obtained from London, and for the gradual collection and preparation of a series of New Zealand marine invertebrata.
Among the more interesting additions to the natural-history collections may be mentioned a fine specimen of the Emperor penguin (Aptendodytes forsteri), from Victoria Land, kindly forwarded by Sir Ernest Shackleton; a stuffed crocodile, presented by Mr. J. Kirker; and some New Zealand birds, contributed by Mr. R. Gibbs and others.
The new foreign ethnology room, the arrangement of which had just been completed at the time of the last annual meeting, has been opened to the public during the year, and has attracted considerable attention. Several additions of importance have been made to the Maori collections, the most interesting being a number of articles presented by Mr. John Webster, of Hokianga, and some others contributed by the Hon. E. Mitchelson. The last-mentioned gentlemen has also provided a new show-case for his collection of kauri-gum, and has had it entirely rearranged. It now forms one of the most attractive exhibits in the Museum.
The plaster casts from the antique exhibited in the statue hall have long been in want of repairs and careful cleaning, and it is consequently satisfactory to announce that the whole collection has been put in proper order and carefully painted in distemper, the work being mainly carried out by Mr. Griffin. The walls of the room have also been retinted, and a barrier erected to prevent the handling of the statues by visitors.
Library.—Two consignments of books, numbering about 130 volumes, have been received from the Society's London agents, and a third, containing over fifty volumes, is now on its way. In addition to the above, 104 volumes of serials have been bound during the year and placed in the library. The usual exchanges and presentations from foreign societies have also been received, together with some donations from private individuals. The scientific magazines and publications of societies subscribed to by the Institute have been regularly received, and made available for the use of members.
The increasing size and importance of the library have induced several members to suggest that the time has arrived for the preparation of a printed catalogue. As the cost of this is evidently beyond the unaided means of the Institute, it was decided to forward a circular to the members, with a view of ascertaining what number would be prepared to purchase copies. The response hardly equalled the anticipations of the Library Committee, but that body has recommended to the Council that the work should be proceeded with.
The Council have had under their consideration an improtant communication from the Board of Governors of the New Zealand Institute, in which the whole subject of the future development of the libraries of the incorporated societies was raised. The Board suggested that the whole of the libraries should be treated as a joint library, which any member of the New Zealand Institute could use, wherever he might reside. It also advocated the preparation of a joint card catalogue, with copies for each incorporated society; and finally recommended that the incorporated societies, instead of each attempting the formation of a general scientific library, should select special subjects, confining their efforts mainly to the purchase of books relating to these subjects. After full consideration, the Council, while favourable to the idea of the general use of the whole of the libraries by any member, subject to proper regulations, were unable to agree with the proposed specialisation of the libraries, or with the suggested expenditure on a joint card catalogue.
In concluding the report, the Council have to thank the members for the assistance and encouragement they have given towards furthering the objects of the Institute. While congratulating the members on the steady progress of the society, and the evident interest taken in its work by the people of Auckland, it is impossible to lose sight of the fact that the increasing growth of the institution in itself implies new duties and responsibilities and further calls on its slender revenue. The Council trust that members generally will interest themselves in the direction of securing additional subscribers, or in adding to the Museum or library, or in any other way that may seem advisable.
Election of Officers for 1910.—President—R. Briffault, M.B.; Vice-presidents—Professor C. W. Egerton, M.A., E. V. Miller; Council—L. J. Bagnall, Professor F. D. Brown, M.A., T. Peacock, D. Petrie, M.A., J. A. Pond, F.C.S., J. Reid, E. Robertson, M.D., Professor H. W. Segar, M.A., J. Stewart, C.E., Professor A. P. W. Thomas, M.A., J. H. Upton; Secretary and Treasurer—T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S., F.Z.S.; Auditor—W. Gorrie.